Cats, Babies, & Children
Contrary to what some believe, cats and babies CAN get along! How to make a successful relationship? Keep reading.
1. If you’re able, start preparing your kitty for a baby before the baby arrives. Start using the lotions and creams you plan to use for the baby. If possible, invite friends’ babies over or get a recording of a baby crying. If you plan to shut the door to the baby’s room when he arrives, close the door NOW to reduce the chance of the cat resenting the actual child.
2. Cats pick up on our emotions. If you are tense when the cat and baby are together, the cat will suspect that the baby is something to fear. Instead, give lots of treats and praise; let the cat know you still love her!
3. If you’re holding the baby, have a laser pointer or stick toy at hand. If possible have treats. Playing with the kitty or giving him treats will create positive associations with the bundle in your hands. DO NOT shoo the cat away from the baby.
4. If the cat approaches the baby, be calm, encouraging, and give lots of praise. In the unlikely situation that the cat swats your baby, do not worry – cats rarely use their claws. To them, the baby is similar to another cat and they feel the need to establish dominance. Closely monitor, but do not yell or punish.
Make as many positive experiences as you can between the cat and the baby!
For Older Children:
Please teach older kids to be gentle with cats. Show them how to play with cats appropriately; using wand/stick toys or tossing mice or balls for the cat is a wonderful way for kids to interact and bond with cats. Teach kids that cats prefer to approach humans; not the other way around.
If, by chance, a cat scratches or bites your child, the cat is letting the child know that she wants to be left alone. To decrease chances of injury, keep your kitty’s claws clipped.
Cats are such a wonderful addition to any family, no matter the makeup of the family. Simple steps like the above can be taken to make everyone’s transition as smooth and harmonious as possible.